Notes from last night in MAC basketball:
Syracuse 84, EMU 48 — The Eagles had a lead with 8:25 to play in the first half. Judging by the final score, the obvious talent gap finally caught up to them in the second half as they were only trailing by eight points going into the break. Darrell Lampley had another fine day at the court with 19 points on nine shots, but one pure shooter is never enough to even scare a top five program.
But with former Syracuse assistant Rob Murphy guiding EMU, you'd like to believe that one day they'll have a team that can put perhaps a bigger scare into a leviathan like this. I don't see anybody particularly that can shoot like Lampley, but Antonio Green is a darn good free throw shooter and is doing a slightly better job at getting to the line. Matt Balkema also seems to be pretty active around the basket and should be able to back his defender under the rim with that huge body.
Now then. Obviously to address the elephant, this game took national precedence since it was the first game Syracuse played since firing assistant coach Bernie Fine. Obviously it's a touchy subject and a dismal series of events. If you feel the need to sound off on the events, go ahead — it's easy for me to form an opinion, if I had to, on the situation right now. But with scant information on how pervasive this perverse story goes, any conjecture would simply be adding to the pile. So there you have it. Molesting children is bad.
Cincinnati 56, Miami 47 — I'm not sure what to make of this. The final score doesn't look too bad, but while UC jumped out to a 14-2 lead, Miami stuck around and made it close but never led, despite rarely being down double digits. Then again with a pace like this game had, it was hard for anybody to score points in bunches. The notable exception: Julian Mavunga, who led all scorers with 26 points, more than twice what any other individual human had. He also brought down 12 rebounds.
Ball State 64, Texas Southern 53 — The SWAC opponent that beat Eastern Michigan didn't do much in the face of a far superior MAC West team. BSU rebounded well offensively and were led by three men in scoring: Jarrod Jones with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Randy Davis with 13 points and nine assists, and Jesse Berry with 14 points although it took him the most shots (10) to get there. Strangely enough, they're one of the best teams in limiting turnovers, yet their 16 last night was more than TSU had.
In women's games:
Bowling Green 86, Western Kentucky 62 — The Battle of Bowling Greens (not a real thing) was decided early as BGSU connected on several 3-point shots, finishing 11-for-19 on them. Jillian Halfhill finished 5-for-5 on treys and ended up with 22 points on just eight shots. Chrissy Steffen led everyone with 24 points.
NIU 53, Southern Illinois 50 — Is it me or do the Huskies have more than their fair share of close games? Alicia Johnson hit the go-ahead layup with 13 seconds left in the game and sank free throws after an SIU miss to ice the victory. Freshman guard Amanda Corral led the Huskies with 17 points.
Ball State 55, Evansville 50 — And this makes it a perfect night for MAC women's hoops, but the Cards were the ones to notch a road victory. Briyana Blair did a bit of everything with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals.
Today's men's games:
7:00 p.m. — Buffalo at Dayton
7:00 p.m. — OHIO at Marshall
7:00 p.m. — UNC-Wilmington at Toledo
7:00 p.m. — Hope College (Division III) at WMU
Today's women's games:
11:30 a.m. — UNC-Wilmington at OHIO (Time is not a misprint. They did this so area middle schools can bring the kids on a field trip to watch)
12 noon — Wright State at Buffalo (Same here)
7:00 p.m. — Akron at Cleveland State
7:00 p.m. — St. Bonaventure at Kent State
7:05 p.m. — WMU at Youngstown State
8:05 p.m. — CMU at Wichita State